Why Valentine’s Day Sucks

At least, the actual date of it – historically speaking

Thanks to Valentine’s Day, there’s always an overload of lovey-dovey shenanigans besmirching the general landscape each February 14th. So many bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolates and fancy dinners and public displays of affection … and then a spike in world population approximately nine months farther down the road.

Talk about your 'gang aft agley,' right?

But, you know what? Sometimes some Really Bad Shit happens on February 14th, too.

And maybe that’s exactly what – for reasons you’d prefer not to disclose – maybe that’s exactly what you’re looking for right now? Some prime examples?

Oh, hon – we’ve got you covered:

FEBRUARY 14, 1929: Here’s the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, of course, in which Al Capone’s South Side gang murdered seven members of Bugs Moran’s North Side gang in a garage in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Tommy guns blazing, blood everywhere, all that homicidal gangster action the movies like to glamorize. Northsider Frank Gusenberg, sprawled on the concrete and bleeding to death from 14 separate bullet holes, was questioned by the cops: “Who shot you?” Said Gusenberg, tough guy to the end: “No one shot me.”

FEBRUARY 14, 1945: The British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces begin fire-bombing Dresden. Does it matter that it was “our side,” that we and our stiff-upper-lip allies were perpetrating this particular horror in the name of defeating the Axis powers – who really needed defeating, because Nazis? Maybe it does matter, somewhere in the details of strategy; but maybe you also need to go and read Slaughterhouse-Five again.

FEBRUARY 14, 1989: Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issues a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill author Salman Rushdie – because Rushdie wrote a book called The Satanic Verses that didn’t, ah, show proper respect for the state religion. [Note: The author’s still alive, but most people we know actually prefer his eariler novel Midnight’s Children to the Offending Volume anyway.] [Also, Rushdie’s last wife – he’s had four – is the fashion model (and longtime Top Chef host) Padma Lakshmi, who’s currently, speaking of Valentine’s Day in this small world, in a relationship with the brother of Austin’s own Michael Dell.]

FEBRUARY 14, 2004: The roof of the popular Transvaal waterpark in Moscow, Russia, collapses – killing 28 people and wounding 193 others. Tell you what, you ever feel like learning about “stress corrosion cracking” and “stainless steel fasteners” and the opinions that Dutch architects have about such things, this is a disaster you want to do some research on.

FEBRUARY 14, 2008: A young man named Steven Kazmierczak – who’s wearing, among other items of clothing, a black T-shirt with the word "Terrorist" printed over an image of an assault rifle – no, srsly – kicks in the door of an auditorium at Northern Illinois University and uses his Glock, his Sig Sauer, and various other guns to kill five people (and injure 21 others). At least the sorry fucker had the wherewithal to then blow himself away as the cops rushed in, but one can’t help wishing he’d started his rampage with that violent autonegation instead.

Y’know?

Now, then – how about a much happier Valentine’s Day for all of us this year?

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Wayne Alan Brenner
Austin Filmmakers’ Waking Nightmares
Austin Filmmakers’ Waking Nightmares
They’re just making a movie. What could possibly go wrong?

Oct. 5, 2018

Seeking Out Sardines
Seeking Out Sardines
In which we visit a pair of prime dining spots for the tiny savories

Sept. 28, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Valentine's Day Massacre, Dresden, Salman Rushdie fatwa, Transvaal waterpark, Northern Illinois University shooting, bad things that happen on Valentine's Day, love stinks, Valentine's Events

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle